University of Vermont

UVM Self-help Web Guide

UVM Web Template Frequently Asked Questions

Question Types: General/Beginner | Behind the Scenes | Content | Visual Appearance | Navigation


What is the UVM Web Template?
The UVM Web Template is a method for publishing your UVM Web site with the standard UVM visual and navigational look. It is a content management system that allows the visual design of your site to be maintained centrally so you can concentrate your efforts on addressing the specific information and content of your site.
What are the advantages of using the UVM Web Template?
The UVM Web Template minimizes your need to acquire HTML-authoring skills and allows you access to training, documentation, help hours, and e-mail support. The UVM Web Template also allows your site to look and feel like much of UVM's Web site including the UVM home page and many of the underlying pages accessed most frequently at UVM.
Is the UVM Template hard to use?
No. The UVM Web Template requires you to have only basic HTML and file-transfer skills.
How often is the UVM Web Template changed?
Major upgrades to the visual look of the template are made every one to two years. Each upgrade reflects changes in UVM's image and organization. Minor changes to the UVM Template can occur several times a year. All changes in the UVM Web Template require little, if any, updating for those using the UVM Web Template and are announced in advance on UVMWEBINFO.
How can I learn how to use the UVM Web Template?
There are several ways to learn about the UVM Web Template. The UVM Web Template Guide is available online and contains step-by-step instructions on how to use the UVM Web Template. Once you've read the guide, you can post questions to UVMWEBINFO or drop by the UVM Web Team help hours to address specific questions. Additionally, workshops addressing template features and enhancements are offered every semester. More on getting help with the template...
Can the UVM Web Team update my UVM Web Template site for me?
No. Only you have access to change your site, but the UVM Web Team is available to help you with your UVM Web Template site. The UVM Web Team holds help hours where you can sign-up for one-on-one assistance. E-mail support is available via, e-mail is usually answered within one business day. The UVM Web Team also reads and responds to UVM Web Template questions posted to UVMWEBINFO and can provide you with step-by-step instructions to get you on the right track.

Behind the Scenes

How does the UVM Web Template work?
The UVM Web Template uses a scripting language called PHP to assemble your content and menu preferences within one of several centrally located design templates. This occurs "on the fly" when a Web user browses your Web site. The UVM Web Template can also tap into several of UVM's main databases (LDAP directory, the Banner courses, Oracle and R25 calendars, a faculty directory, the campus map, and several other data sources) to automatically creates webpages with specific customized data that you may use it on your Web site.
Does my site have to live on the Zoo server in order to use the UVM Template?
Yes. The UVM Web Template is heavily dependent on the resources of Zoo in order to operate.
Can I make my UVM Template site secure?
Yes. The UVM Web Template is compatible with the SSL secure services available on Zoo.
Can I restrict access to some or all of my UVM Template site?
Yes. Access can be restricted on any site using the UVM Web Template using a variety of methods. Due to the current software design of the UVM Web Template, it is not possible to restrict access to individual files in the UVM Web Template. To restrict access to individual pages, you can simply move those individual pages to a sub-site or to secure directories that don't use the UVM Web Template.
Can I add dynamic content to my UVM Template site?
Yes. The UVM Web Template supports the use of scripting languages available on zoo including custom PHP scripts that gather data from other data sources including MySQL databases or text documents. The UVM Web Template also incorporates easy-to-use modules that tap into UVM institutional databases, including Banner course information, faculty information, the Oracle or R25 calendar systems, the UVM LDAP directory, and the campus map. More on adding dynamic content features...
Can I measure the web traffic my website receives?
Absolutely. The UVM web publishing system is designed to work with Google Analytics. You simply need to sign up for an analytics account from Google, there you need only get your account number which has a form of UA-xxxxxxx-x (we'll take care of all that other coding stuff). Add this account number to the default menu on all the websites that you wish to track as follows: analytics=UA-xxxxxxx-x (using your Google Analytics account number, of course), you may also use a magicoptions.html file to add your analytics account. After about 24 hours, you should begin to receive data at your Google account. You can give multiple people access to this Google account, and we strongly recommend setting up several administrators, perhaps including a departmental account, so that the account can be accessed by someone else in the department in the event of an emergency.
Why is my page loading so slowly?
A wide variety of factors can cause Web pages to load slowly including images with large file sizes, complex database queries, high network traffic, and connectivity issues.
Can I change the URL/address of my web site?
Yes. There are several options for renaming your site, for more information on this topic consult our information on URLs and redirects.


Can I include videos in my UVM Template site?
Yes. The UVM Web Template is compatible with all major multimedia content requiring plug-ins including QuickTime, Adobe Acrobat, Macromedia Flash and Shockwave, Real, and others and supports embedding. We have documented several methods for including video content in your site.
Can I create my own custom category for the Quick Links area?
While using the predefined categories is strongly encouraged and makes your site easier to navigate, you can make custom categories to suit unique needs. More on quicklinks...
Can I change the links on the top and bottom banners of the UVM Template?
No. The banners are intended to provide a consistent visual and navigational identity for Web users browsing throughout the UVM site.
Where can I find images to use on my Web site?
The UVM Web Team provides an image library that you may incorporate on your UVM Web site. Before you consider using an image or graphic from elsewhere on the UVM Web Site seek permission from the Web site's manager. If you have trouble determining or contacting the Web site's owner, contact the UVM Web Team at
How can I add content that refreshes/reloads every time someone visits my website?
There are several methods for creating this type of dynamic content using scripts. If you would like to refresh your content in the top banner follow the tutorial in our webguide. If you would like to perform the refresh elsewhere on your site we recommend one of two great streamlined and fairly easy to implement methods.

Visual Appearance

Can I change the color scheme of the UVM Template?
There are currently 12 banner colors which come with a variety of different complementary heading colors. Further customization is possible using CSS. More on color schemes...
Why do the colors and sizes of the menus and banners change when I view a certain page on my site?
If you notice unintended changes in the appearance of the UVM Web Template Banners or navigational columns or links, you probably are witnessing a conflict with CSS (cascading style sheets). If you've never heard of CSS or don't think you are using it, then you are probably viewing a page created by a Microsoft product such as Word which creates CSS for you when using the Save as Web Page command. One way to fix this is to copy your text from your Microsoft application and paste it into an HTML application such as Kompozer. If you are intentionally using CSS, you should avoid styles that apply to all <a>, <p>, <li>, <ul>, and <h1..h7> tags, and use custom class selectors.
Why, when I view pages on my site, do the links in the left and right side menus change their color?
You are probably witnessing a CSS conflict. If you are not using cascading style sheets and you use Microsoft Word to create your HTML, the MS Word program has likely creating coding that overrides the styles on the template. We recommend you remove the HTML heading information from Word or, more preferably, use another HTML editor to avoid this problem.
Why does my page extend out past the edge of the template?
The template is designed to allow your content area to stretch and shrink according to size of a user's browser window. This problem usually occurs when your Content Area is not large enough to accommodate your content layout at a particular screen resolution. This frequently occurs when specifying widths in tables and can be avoided by not using width setting in the <table> or <td> tags.
Why does my page not print as it looks in the browser?
The "print" CSS style sheet on the UVM Web site allows UVM and other affiliates to save paper by printing only the parts of the page they need, without printing links to navigation. This is similar to what was available with the print-friendly link on all pages, but is automatic. Certain design elements used on Web sites do not transfer well to the printed page. The UVM "print" style sheet is meant to improve the quality of printed UVM Web pages.
How do I print a template Web page as it looks in the browser?
If you need to print a Web page in the UVM Template as it appears on screen for some type of Web development purpose, you can take a "screen shot" of a page and print it. For Web developers working on site organization and navigation of their Template Web site, consider viewing your site's table of contents made available by the UVM Template.
Why does my graphic appear broken when I view it using the UVM Template?
There are several reasons this may be happening. You will want to verify that you have uploaded your graphic file and that permissions are set correctly. If your image is still broken, you should next verify that the path to the image is correct in the document that includes it. If it still does not work and you are using subdirectories with the UVM Web Template, you may need to change your link to reflect the hierarchy using ../. More on adding images.
Can I adjust the width of the Default Menu and Quick Links column?
The column widths are currently fixed at 200 pixels and 160 pixels wide respectively.
Some strange characters are appearing on my pages when they load inside a UVM web template, but not when they load individually. What is happening?
Most UVM Web templates in the UVM web publishing system use unicode (UTF-8) encoding. Pages that are tagged with another encoding or text pasted into HTML editors (and sometimes online editors) will be decoded automatically by the publishing system. If a page does not contain a tag identifying its encoding, it will be interpreted as unicode. If the encoding is not unicode, in this case, some characters may display incorrectly. To correct this problem, the file should be tagged with the proper encoding or you should replace the problematic characters by typing the correct character directly into a web editor. Subsequently converting to unicode is sometimes recommended.
No. If you wish your site to extend the full width of the template and not use a left menu for navigation, you can select the nomenu_2010 template. More on configuring your site for alternate templates...
In order to visually maintain your subdirectory list, you must add it to each link where you want it appear. For instance, in your subdirectory table you must add a &SM=... to each link when you want the subdirectory to appear. More on sub-menus...
Why does the menu item called "Lost Sub Menu" appear with my submenu under it?
In order to maintain navigation integrity of your submenus you must have at least one main menu item pointing to a submenu. Otherwise, the submenu has no main menu to be "attached" to and therefore the template system creates the artificial main menu item "Lost Sub Menu" as an error condition. More on sub-menus...
What kind of links should go in the Quick Links area?
The optional Quick Links area, or right-hand navigational column, of the UVM Web Template was designed to accommodate links out of your site and commonly requested links that fall deep within your site. By restricting your links to this type, you generally present a less confusing experience for your site visitors. More on quicklinks...
Can I have separate quick links on different pages of my site?
Yes. Quick links and other supplemental navigational link categories can be applied to a entire site or to individual pages. More on quicklinks...
Can I use frames in the UVM Template?
No. The UVM Web Template is not compatible with frames, although iframes can be used.
How do I get my web site listed in or removed from UVM A-Z?
Anyone can submit a request for a addition to or deletion from A-Z. Requests are reviewed by a UVM Web Team member before the change is committed. Sites are typically listed by the site name and crost-listed, if appropriate. To submit a request, fill out the corresponding online A-Z request.
Why does my site (or page) not show up as expected in search results?
Search results on UVM or Google searches are derived based on a variety factors. Consult our documentation on altering Google search results for more information.

Last modified September 20 2011 12:55 PM